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Getting Private School Teaching Jobs
Getting private school teaching positions
Getting teaching jobs, let alone private school teaching jobs is no slice of pie: there’s bureaucracy, a high level of competition, and high standards for getting accepted. I’m going to walk you through some tips and guidelines for getting accepted into the world of teaching.
Getting a teaching job-an impossible task?
What they don’t tell you in school is how hard it is to get a teaching job. We were told, on numerous occasions that 2007 was the year to get a job, since so many teachers were expected to retire. Retire, they did not. With this uncertain economy, most teachers were staying put, even beyond their retirement age. This movement pushed brand new teachers out and forced eager beginning teachers out of promised promotions. Many teachers with limited or no formal teaching experience were pushed into on call positions, with these on call position lasting a minimum of 5 years before being promised full time teaching positions.
Soon after I graduated from my teaching program, I began the arduous task of applying to various school boards. I probably wrote 50 cover letters, expecting to get multiple job offers. Out of the dozens of school boards I applied to, two of them got back to me and asked me to interview (I didn’t land either of the interviews). One school board called me when I was on vacation (in the summer) and asked me to come for an interview 2 days later. They refused to reschedule the interview ( I couldn’t get back in time), so I never got a chance to get into that district. I didn’t get hired for any school district, not because I was incompetent, but because there were a limited number of spots for TOCs (Teachers on Call) and hundreds of applicants and literally no full time or part time positions (unless you speak and teach fluent French)
Private school employment-the solution?
So after looking for a teaching job from May to August, I still had no job. My husband and I had just moved to the city and neither of us had jobs (I still don’t how someone agreed to rent us an apartment, with no no source of income). One idea that I had not yet explored was looking into teaching jobs in private schools. I had originally resisted the urge to apply for private school teaching jobs because I thought that private school were too snobby and entitled for me. I wanted to change the world and it seemed to me that private school teaching was not the venue for radical change. Little did I know that I didn’t have much of a choice of jobs nor did I know that my opinion of private school teaching was dead wrong.
Private school teaching positions-they do exist!
After combing through the internet for private school teaching jobs, I managed to find a private Christian school, in the city that had a part-time private school teaching position available, even though it was September and school had already started. I applied for the position and was asked to come in for an interview. Now luckily, I did my teacher training at a Christian Liberal Arts University and I was well versed in speaking and navigating through the Christian language. (This private school had an open policy, meaning you did not have to be a believer in order to teach there and to send your kids there). I also knew how to write and articulate my philosophy of Christian teaching. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the staff and administration of this school to be very down to earth and extremely friendly. The school’s philosophy was very broad, non-judgemental and generally accepting of everyone.
Another factor that was on my side was my experience of international teaching and my linguistics training. I taught English in Seoul, South Korea, the year before I did my final teacher training. Often private schools host a lot of international students and having teachers with extra ESL training and understanding only helps to get your name pushed to the top of the pile.
Private school employment (Christian schools)-a short, how-to guide
I’m proud to say that I’ve been private school teaching since 2007, at the same K to 8 school. I landed the part-time 3rd grade position, which turned into a full-time 3rd grade position. For me, it was a matter of the right timing. It turned out that the part-time 3rd grade teacher the school had hired was from out of country and her work Visa wasn't approved in time.
I managed to supplement my part time position with other teaching related jobs, but as a city outsider and a brand new teacher (at the time), I did find it generally difficult to get into the world of teaching. The tips I'm going to share with you are all things that I did to drum up private school employment for myself.
Getting teaching jobs in private schools, a few tips:
1. Check your local private school teaching union website for job postings and apply for private school teaching jobs.
2. Network! Visit private schools in your area and give them a copy of your cover letter and resume. Persistence often pays off.
3. Get involved: approach local private schools to enquire about volunteering in classrooms. That way when positions come up the school administration can put your face with your name and this can give you a leg up in the private school employment competition.
4. Do your research: find out everything you can about the schools you're applying to and make a list of thoughtful questions to ask in the interview.
5. Become a TOC (teacher on call). This is a great way to get your name out there and to showcase your teaching ability. Strive for excellence as private school teachers can request your name when they need a TOC and pretty soon most teachers and staff will know who you are. This will vastly increase your chances of landing a part time or full time private school teaching position when these positions come up.